Sierra Wireless is showing its two newest wireless broadband modem in Mobile World Congress. The Compass 885 USB modem and AirCard 885E Expresscard supports HSPA mobile broadband connection. Both are designed to be compact even with its extra usability and features.
The USBConnect 881 is definitely ahead of its time or rather ahead of schedule since none of AT&T’s markets support HSUPA. That doesn’t stop us from wanting to take a first look at the device as well and test how well it performs under the current network – HSDPA.
The unit is sturdy and well built. The USB part of the connector neatly folds up when not in use. You just need to be extra careful when it’s plugged in and you happen to be using your laptop on your lap. There’s a big chance you may accidentally bang it on something if you move around. I’m pretty careless, so there’s a big chance I’m going to whack it on something and break it off. Therefore, from a design point of view, I prefer the internal ExpressCard EX720 by Novatel.
Looks like Novatel isn’t the only kid on the block to release a new device for Revision A EV-DO and HSDPA network. Sierra Wireless is releasing an EV-DO Revision A devices later this year and a HSDPA early next year. The AirCard 595U is for CDMA network – such as Sprint and Verizon. It should hit the street in Q4; featuring maximum download speeds of 3.1 megabits per second and maximum upload speeds of 1.8 megabits per second.
Sierra Wireless will also release the AirCard 875U which utilizes HSDPA, offered by Cingular. The AirCard 875U has a peak rate of up to 3.6 megabits per second and is upgradeable. The AirCard 875U should be released in the first quarter of 2007.
Price and exact date of release is yet to be announced.
New EV-DO, HSDPA wireless broadband interfaces use USB [Macworld, via Engadget]
AirCard 597E brings new form factor and features to the company’s flagship AirCard product line
August 28, 2006
Vancouver, British Columbia – Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ: SWIR - TSX: SW) today announced the introduction of its ExpressCard product line, with the upcoming AirCard® 597E wireless wide area network card for EV-DO Revision A networks. Built for notebook computers with ExpressCard expansion slots, the AirCard 597E will be fully compliant with network operator requirements and will offer user-friendly features such as Assisted GPS (aGPS) location based services; a robust, fixed antenna design; and an external antenna jack for flexibility and improved reception in fringe coverage areas or for specialized applications. The AirCard 597E is expected to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2007. ExpressCard models for HSDPA networks are expected to follow later in the year.
ABI research estimates that adoption of the ExpressCard standard for PC card slots will be significant in 2007, shipping in 45 percent of laptops sold, up from 10 percent in 2006*. Sierra Wireless will also continue to produce AirCard products in the Type II PC Card form factor to serve the established base of notebook users with PC Card slots. For those with PC Card slots who wish to purchase an ExpressCard product in anticipation of an upcoming notebook upgrade, the company will offer an ExpressCard-to-PC Card adapter accessory.